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sbmfj 07-20-2011 08:00 PM

Door & Window replacement question

I'd like to replace a door in my basement.

I think I'll will have to rip out all the current framing, and end up with simply the cement hole. This cement hole measures about 33.5 by 72. I figure its best to rip out the current framing, as its old, and if I were to keep it, the new door Id install would end up being smaller, as the old frame is about 1 thick on each side. I need a wide door, as sometimes Ill use this door to move stuff in and out of the basement. My new door will be about 32 wide, and including the frame should be about 33.5.

Now heres my question. Assuming I rip out all of the old framing, can I simply install my new pre-hung door, level it, shim it, and then secure it with cement screws aka Tapcons (blue screws)(2 or 3 on each side for a total of 4-6 screws)? Id then fill in any gaps (i.e. spaces between the concrete door frame, and the pre-hung door Ive installed) with spray foam (low expansion as not to buckle the door frame), or the pink wool type insulation. If needed, a bead of silicone around it all.

Do you guys see anything wrong with this approach?

I'd like to apply the same thing to a window, again in the basement, and it would be approached the same way as well. Any concerns here?

Thanks guys & gals, Have a nice day!!

4just1don 07-21-2011 06:50 PM

at 72" thats a mighty short door. special order. 1. wont like the price,,,2. wont like preformance

I would research putting a standard height door there instead now. more work but better results.

measure those windows for same problem. you can mortar them smaller or wood frame buck them. Size does matter.

chrisBC 07-22-2011 12:49 AM

If you want to leave that opening the way it is, you are pretty tight for space for that door. Usually your RO needs to be 2'' to 2.5'' bigger than the door, so for 32'' you'd need 34-34.5

if your opening if perfect then it might just fit snuggly, but I wouldn't count on it going smoothly trying to put that size door in that opening the way it is, if your RO is just an inch and a half bigger than the door. Not really ideal to try and install the door frame right against masonry/concrete as well.

I can't tell you how many times i've hit my head going out thoseshort basement doors, being over 6' myself...PITA.

Ron6519 07-22-2011 07:04 AM

I'd add a window well to one of the windows, it's too close to ground level.

sbmfj 07-22-2011 01:44 PM

thanks guys.

4jusst1don - Theres no way I can fit in a larger door; it has to be 72". Its a low basement.

chrisBC - So, you say 2" bigger for the ruff opening, is that 2" on each side? Whats the issue with installing right on the masonry? I figure there should be a good 0.5" gap, and Id fill this in with insulation. I guess any way I look at it, some wood framing will be secured via the cement, no other way to go about it...

Ron6519 - I have to look up window well installs, your right about it being very low. Do you usually connect a drain pip to connect the the underground drain, or simply use gravel as a filtrage medium?

Ron6519 07-22-2011 03:27 PM


Originally Posted by sbmfj (Post 691444)
thanks guys.
Ron6519 - I have to look up window well installs, your right about it being very low. Do you usually connect a drain pip to connect the the underground drain, or simply use gravel as a filtrage medium?

Depends on the soil type you have. If the soil is graded away from the house and you keep the soil at least 6' below the window bottom, you shouldn't have an issue with water buildup in the well. If the soil has a very heavy clay content, you can put a cover over the well to keep any water out.

cocobolo 07-22-2011 04:42 PM

Looks like you definitely have a sticky little problem on your a little outside the box thinking perhaps.

OK, you cannot fit greater than a 6' high door. Since you've been stuck with that for awhile, I gather that you've probably learned to duck every time when you use it.

Now, with a 32" door, the door side of your jambs is usually about 3/4" thick per side. That takes you to 33 1/2", plus you need to add the space around the door, perhaps another 1/4". So, now you are at 33 3/4", which is more space than you have.

My suggestion for that is to take apart the jamb, rip 1" off the hinge side of the door, re-do the hinge mortices, and cut the head jamb as much as you can. Whatever you trim off the door (1" give or take) you can take the exact same amount off the head jamb. In theory, you would now have 3/4" to play with. But in the real world things usually don't work like that, and I think you will be lucky to have 1/2" in total. I wouldn't use pink on a bet. Either foam or the Roxul insulation, vastly better than the old pink.

Now, considering that you have lost an inch of width, why not plane the side jambs down by perhaps 3/8" off each side, not the concrete side, but the inside of the jamb. You could gain back 3/4" that way. You will still need to add your weatherstripping to that.

As to the installation itself, tack 15lb. roofing felt all round the outside of the jamb before you install. You might even want to put some sort of wood preservative on the jamb itself, I think I would. And I would install the tapcons in pairs - 3 sets of two on each side. That stabilizes your jamb better. You'll be very lucky if you still have room for shims...

Good luck with this one! :)

Gary in WA 07-23-2011 10:53 PM

Good advise, coco. You could change the 15# to window and door wrap for no moisture/water passing as felt is 5-20 perms. Right on with the fiberglass (least effective):


cocobolo 07-23-2011 11:20 PM


Originally Posted by GBR in WA (Post 692325)

Thanks Gary. There's probably other things that could be done, and later I thought about one of those Bilco doors. I haven't seen them advertised for years, but this might be an application where one would work. I think I have the right name.

chrisBC 07-23-2011 11:36 PM


Originally Posted by sbmfj (Post 691444)
thanks guys.

chrisBC - So, you say 2" bigger for the ruff opening, is that 2" on each side? Whats the issue with installing right on the masonry? I figure there should be a good 0.5" gap, and Id fill this in with insulation. I guess any way I look at it, some wood framing will be secured via the cement, no other way to go about it...

No your RO needs to be 2'' to 2.5'' bigger than the door itself. So for a 30'' door your RO should be 32- 32.5, etc.

My worry with the jamb against the concrete would be two things

I would want a barrier of some kind between the concrete and the door frame, assuming the frame is wood.

Secondly, I don't know how concerned you would be about this-but there would be no way to finish it decently, if you wanted to put some kind of trim on would be easier with a pt. frame in the opening. I don't know what level of finish you desire for this space.

Just thinking out loud, the only doors i've installed against concrete were steel doors, commercial doors. The only way i've seen it done with residential doors were they were fitted to framing which was fastened to the concrete.

anyways if you only have an inch and a half I doubt your install would go smoothly, personally I would put some PT lumber in the opening and put in a smaller door.

sbmfj 07-24-2011 12:57 PM

Hey guys,

Thanks for the feedback. I've conducted a little research, and this would be my game plan.

l'll buy a plain pre-hung door (no windows) such as the one I've posted below. I'll have it made special order to accommodate the height requirements.\
different shot

You see these type of door at all the big hardware stores. A typical 32" door (as above) will be about 33.5" wide including the frame around it.

So, I'd get a 31" door, and frame included it would be around 32.5" wide (plain door, no windows, total dimension would be about 71" high by 32.5" wide, around 9" thick). As my ruff opening (cement only) is about 33.5" wide, I have an inch to play with and can then shim the door frame against the cement, level it, and then secure it via tapcons (predrilling with a hammer drill beforehand though). I'd then fill in any spaces between the concrete and door frame wiht low expansion foam spray. I dont need a trim job, a rough job will be sufficient enough.

Does seem like a good approach? I suppose I could cover the exterior part of the door frame with 15lb roofing felt as Cocobolo suggested as a form of weather proofing, but no real water gets down to where the door will be.

Thanks for reading,


chrisBC 07-24-2011 01:05 PM

Sounds good to me...

I would put the felt or whatever other barrier around the doorframe, anywhere it could be in contact with the concrete.

the felt is a good idea, just staple it to the jambs I would think.

good luck.

cocobolo 07-24-2011 04:25 PM

You should be OK James. Like Chris says, just tack the paper directly to the jamb. It's a shame you can't make your own door.

sbmfj 07-25-2011 09:17 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys. If I were to approach a window the same way, would you forsee an issues either? Coco - Wish I knew how to build a door from scratch!! Probably short a few tools too. One day!!

sbmfj 09-13-2011 06:07 PM

Hello again,

So ordered and received my door, and began the install the other day. Started by the old door removal, and found a little surprise, something I had totally unaccounted for...I thought my side jambs/frame was one solid peice of wood, but not, there's about a 4.5" long, and 2" high piece of concrete. Its like a concrete 2x4 (4.5 actually) in between both pieces of wood. Kinda like this ___[__]___ and here's a few photo's to illustrate my dilemma. Its on both sides of the door frame, and above as well.

Here's the door area..

Here's that piece of concrete in between the 2x4's. Notice that the wood is a little discolored so it kinda looks like 2 pieces but it's really one...
closer view

So, I figure I have a few options in order to make this fit. I'd like your help/opinion to figure out what you think may be my best course of action.
Here's a pic of my new door so you can have an idea of what I'm working with.

Option 1 - Cut the concrete back all the way around. A friend suggested using a grinder with a cement disk, make a bunch of slices and chip it out with a cement chisel. Or, try using a reciprocating saw with a diamond cement blade. I figure the saw would probably result in a nicer finish, and might be less stressful to the cement (which is a foundation btw) due to the lack of impacts from the chiseling to break out the slices of cement.

Option 2 - Cut the door to a narrower width, and fit it in on one "side of the jamb". As an aerial shot of my side wall would look like this.. ___[__]___ , and the left flat portion is about 3 11/16" wide, cut the perimeter of my prehung door to that length. If you look at the pic below, its that blue line (its kinda faint), the part left of it is about 3 5/8. Id cut it all the way around, and then fit in that portion. Threshold would be tricky to cut, but I think a jigsaw and dremel with the proper bits may work. The current width of the door is currently 9 1/4" and I called back the store where I bought the door, and asked whats the narrowest a door can be made (standard size is 7 1/2") and they told me 4 5/8". Think 3 11/16" would be too narrow?

Option 3 - Take apart my pre-hung door, and try to make a new frame to fit it within the hole I have, basically work around the cement. This implies re-hanging the door, re-installing the weather stripping etc...Im not very keen on this idea, as I think Id have a hard time hanging a door properly, let alone installing all of the weather stripping etc...

What do you guys think? What would you do? Door cost a few hundred bucks, so I really cant afford to order a new one, and as its special order, no returns. Perhaps I could get it back to the manufacturer, and he could take it apart and make it smaller, but that would probably cost a bundle too, and the door wont fit in my honda civic either, so I have to figure out how to get it back to the store...

Thanks for your help and suggestions. When I found this out on Saturday during my "install", I almost threw up lol. Thank God I took the old door apart slowly so it was easier to re-install so I had a door to close!!! Few beers helped ease the pain as well...

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